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Rainwater harvesting in Chennai city to get fillip

Aloysius Xavier Lopez
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The civic body will carry out re-engineering of facilities, including stormwater drains.—Photo: K. Pichumani
The civic body will carry out re-engineering of facilities, including stormwater drains.—Photo: K. Pichumani

The Chennai Corporation is planning to carry out re-engineering of rainwater harvesting facilities in the city’s water bodies spread over an area of 426 sq. km.

A meeting to discuss steps to be taken to improve rainwater harvesting, disaster preparedness, flood mitigation and drought relief in the city was held on Tuesday.

More than 100 water bodies in the city, excluding the 19 water bodies managed by the Water Resources Department, have been identified as having untapped potential for rainwater harvesting.

The Corporation is planning to implement re-engineering of structures, including stormwater drains, in the neighbourhood of small lakes and ponds maintained by it. The works are likely to include redesign of stormwater drains, landscaping, desilting and plugging of illegal sewer inlets.

The civic body has studied data from a survey of water bodies, which was completed by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority a few years ago. “A senior official of the erstwhile Ambattur municipality initiated the preparation of estimates for rainwater harvesting in Mangal Eri. But it is yet to be implemented completely. The residents have been requesting the Corporation to implement the project. This will help improve the groundwater level in the neighbourhood,” said K. Neelakandan, councillor of ward 92.

The effort is expected to improve the level of disaster preparedness in the city by mitigating the problem of floods in vulnerable localities. The work would gain pace in the coming months and a complete disaster preparedness information system would be in place shortly, an official said.

According to civic body officials, the Water Resources Department and the Corporation will re-examine the condition of flood-affected areas. The agencies will also be evolving a plan to remove all obstacles for free flow of rainwater into water bodies.

The re-engineering of rainwater harvesting structures in temple tanks a few years ago has improved groundwater levels in areas such as Thiruvanmiyur.

The civic body is also planning to clear encroachments on water bodies that were identified recently. The re-engineering of the structures is expected to elicit protests from some residents who had allegedly constructed houses on encroached land, said an official of the Corporation.

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